Feb 15

Apple Watch to flop! Sell! Sell!

You have to give CNN’s David Goldman a little credit.

With Apple’s next potential revolution still a few months away, he’s going for the gusto.

He’s not just saying that the Apple Watch won’t be as big as previous Apple hits. He’s saying the Apple Watch will flop. Period.

That’s the kind of bravado we like to see. Especially since no product in modern Apple history has ever flopped, despite the many who have predicted otherwise.

So, you might wonder, upon what insights does David base his prediction? Let’s take a little ride…

It costs $350

Way too much for a device that adds “just a slight bit of convenience,” says
Mr. Vision. “It just allows you to do some iPhone functions on the wrist.”

I do hope the memo has gone out to the thousands of developers working on a new universe of wrist apps. Anything more than a slight bit of convenience will not be tolerated!

To beef up his argument by referencing someone with more credibility, David quotes investor Fred Wilson, who said the Apple Watch “won’t be the home run product that iPod, iPhone and iPad have been.”

If Fred Wilson’s own shoddy record evaluating Apple’s products and decisions weren’t enough to give David pause, maybe Fred’s recent tweet will:

“It is annoying that serious media outfits like CNN and Business Insider report that I said the Apple Watch will be a flop.”

Because that’s not what he said at all.

Battery life is going to be awful

“If the rumors of 10-hour battery life hold true, that’s truly dreadful,” says David. “That’ll barely get most people through their work day and commute.”

Geez, David can’t even get the rumors straight. The expectation is 2.5 to 4 hours, not 10.

There are two reasons most people won’t care. The first being that our dumbphones lasted a lot more than one day, but now most of us recharge nightly. Oh, the pain. Battery life is a part of modern living, and most are quite willing to recharge more if they get more functionality.

Second, even the low end of that battery estimate isn’t awful. Most everything you do with an Apple Watch will be done with a glance. Just 2.5 hours of battery life gives you 9,000 seconds to play with. Even if you preferred a luxurious 10-second glance, you’d get 900 uses out of your charge. At four hours, you’d get 2,160 uses.

In David’s house of doom-tinted-cards, even 10 hours would put Apple Watch into flop territory.

Not everyone thinks it’s as beautiful as Tim Cook does

Okay, Tim’s sense of beauty really isn’t the best benchmark. However, he’s not the guy who designed the Apple Watch. That would be Jony Ive, who does have a bit of a knack for making things beautiful.

“Compared to Apple’s other products, it’s ugly,” says David.

Let’s see, whose instinct should I trust on this one? Jony or David. David or Jony…

What’s compelling about it?

David chooses a few of the Apple Watch’s sillier functions to reject the device outright.

“Does anyone really want these functions?” he asks.

First, he answers that it’s a personal preference. Then he says most people will “undoubtedly say, ‘No way.'”

There are some meaningful functions included from the start. But it takes a minimum of brainpower to get that more functionality is on its way. In fact, since developers are at work this very moment, you can be sure there will be a boatload of new functions available at launch. With many, many, many more to come.

Version 2.0 will be better

Bingo! Perceptive! A star on David’s journal!

I’m sure there are a number of people who won’t buy the 1.0 Apple Watch. Just as there are many who won’t buy the first version of any product.

But guess what. A great many will leap at the chance to buy an Apple Watch simply because it has a heavy lust factor and a ton of potential. The product, PR, advertising, buzz — it all adds up. And David seems to forget that the 1.0 Apple watch is aimed directly at the mind-boggling number of happy iPhone owners — which does not include him.

Any guesses about David’s personal taste in technology?

You can find one clue in the article he wrote on CNN.com this past May, entitled “Why I broke up with Apple.”

Also, be aware that yesterday’s Technology section at CNN.com started with not one, but two articles by David. The first declared Apple Watch a flop. The second sings the praises of the amazing new Samsung Galaxy S6.

Of course, Samsung has taken quite a beating of late. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are outselling the Galaxy, and Samsung’s profits have fallen off a cliff. Obviously, if Apple were in that position, critics like David would see the next iPhone as do-or-die time. Incremental improvements would be an epic fail.

Yet in this article, David beats the drum for the new Galaxy because it has:

• Improved design.
• Less software clutter. (All that extra stuff now available as optional download.)
• Four rumored colors.
• A wraparound “edge” that will act as a second display with tidbits of info or apps.
• NOT the latest processor.

Fortunately, we have David to put it all in perspective. Samsung’s big day is coming soon, and the Apple Watch is sure to be a flop.

But let’s not let CNN off the hook. As I have whined previously, CNN has developed a nasty habit of presenting opinion as news. Their new format has actually eliminated the section that used to be marked “Opinion.” Instead, certain articles listed on the home page now start with the word “Opinion:”.

Not David’s article, of course. “The Apple Watch will flop” was delivered as fact — even though virtually every sentence contained David’s dubious opinion.

Ah, the things we do for clicks.

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  • “Especially since no product in modern Apple history has ever flopped…”

    Ahem….The Cube, anyone? The iPod Hi-Fi? Apple Puck Mouse? Ping?


  • Marcos

    So, he says that the watch will suck with out even trying one… Nor giving a chance for the developers show us the watch’s true potential…

    Maybe he is the mastermind behind Samsung’s ads.

  • ksegall

    That’s why I said “modern Apple history.” But you may have me with Ping.

  • All of those products were during Steve Jobs’ Second Coming. How do you define “modern Apple history”?

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    I am so going to belly laugh when Apple tears Android another hole. Loyal Apple customers are going to be lined up around the block of Apple Retail Stores and on the first weekend AppleWatch will likely outsell every other smartwatch on the planet. All the haters will be crying about stupid Apple Sheep and how they’d pay huge amounts of money for dung with an Apple logo. I always get a kick out of hearing such stupidity. Google and Android are going to get seriously butt-hurt as Apple sucks all the wearable device profits out of pockets. Exactly how many Moto 360 smartwatches were sold? Who knows, because no one is saying anything pertaining to sales or shipping numbers.

    Idiots are always hoping that some Apple product is going to be a huge flop just so they can be vindicated in some way of how Apple will fail as a company. Absolutely ridiculous. Apple will sell millions of AppleWatches and still some Android-loving retards will claim AppleWatch is a failure. What a desperate bunch of vultures. There’s all these developers jumping on board for AppleWatch apps and yet the useless prophets are predicting massive AppleWatch failure. Sure. In their dreams. They’re the same sort of people who were praying the Wright Brothers flying contraption would crash horribly at Kitty Hawk and we all know how that turned out. AppleWatch a flop? Hilarious. Maybe no world-changer but a flop? Unlikely.

  • ksegall

    Obviously I’m very selective :) But I was thinking more about the time when the mainstream Apple emerged — with iPod.

  • The Pool Man

    I’ve bought more Apple products than most. I have no desire to buy this watch.

  • Anthony

    I predict that the Apple Watch will still be the no.1 in the category based on the Apple branding. But the sales figure will not be as high as the past Apple revolutionary products. Actually, I guess it will significantly lower than the previous successful products like iPods & iPhones.

    I agree that the functionality and the ecosystem of the Apple Watch may be the best but the user interface and the square look of the watch are not attractive.

    However, Apple proved that it has a power to redefine what beauty is. Who knows.

    So, I am very looking forward the Apple Watch goes on sale and see how the market react!

  • Anthony

    Um… how about the iPhone 5c?
    I guess no one will disagree that the Apple Design is losing its coolness when Steve gone :(

  • “no one will disagree that the Apple Design is losing its coolness…”

    Sorry, but lots of people, myself included, would disagree.

  • Anthony

    It surprises me and I like to listen your opinion. Truly!

    To me, the elegant outlook of the Apple products is no longer exist. Example:
    1) The vibrant colour brings iOS7 more energy but not elegant.
    2) It is hard to said that the Apple Watch is beautiful when compare it to the Moto 360.

  • Daniel Qul-jävel Karlsson

    Good to know.

  • Leo

    I won’t be sure whether I like the look of the Apple Watch until I hold one in my hands. But to suggest that the Moto 360 is beautiful is a bit of a stretch. It’s certainly looking nicer than most other wearables, but this does not mean much in this category.

  • ksegall

    I can’t say for sure, since I have not physically touched a Moto 360. But I did look at the 360 website (http://moto360.motorola.com). About 10 seconds into the video, there is a scene where you see the watch on a woman playing piano. The scene is very quick (on purpose) and shot in very low light (on purpose) — but even then, it looks really silly.

    It’s hard to compare thinness without knowing the Apple Watch specs (it is supposedly .5 millimeter thicker than a Rolex). Thinness aside, it would seem that the biggest design differences would be quality of materials and a person’s preference for round or rectangular.

    My point is — any reference to the Moto 360 as a standard of beauty is a big, big stretch.

  • Gest2016

    Good, pool man. Have fun staring at your hairy wrist, while the rest of us enjoy the fruits of progress.

  • Gest2016

    Anthony, the Moto looks tacky and lame. Your comment is so uninformed, I’m sorry I wasted three seconds of my life reading it.

  • David Horinek
  • Anthony

    Good to hear your guys comments on this topic :)

    Let me make it more clear for our further discussion:

    1) I agree that a person’s preference for a round or rectangular watch will be one of the deciding factor on the beauty of Apple Watch. My point is – people did make their choice already. Most of the people today tend to wear a round shaped watch instead of a square watch. One of the reasons is our wrist looks like a square and it looks too bulky if we wear a square shaped watch. Just like a people with a square face should wear a round shaped glass to offsets the shape of the face.

    2) In addition to the outlook of the Apple Watch, I did think that its UI is unattractive and a little bit complicated. The irony is that the Android Wear’s UI is simple and image-heavy just like the current iOS.
    Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica did make a great comparison between these two UI. Take a look:

  • people did make their choice already. Most of the people today tend to wear a round shaped watch instead of a square watch.

    “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a “mouse”. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don’t want one of these new fangled devices.”

  • Hugues

    Let’s imagine that a smart Marketing coup happens :

    When the Apple watch is released :
    – It has a week of battery life.
    (battery life on a $20 watch can be a year. The Pebble has 5-7 days)
    – You can swim with it
    (any modern mid-high end watch is water proof. The Pebble is by the way)
    – It is open to Android phones (the OnePlus for instance :-) )

    I can not imagine Apple releasing a watch that would have a terrible battery life. Apple is more about Technology than marketing and I think they will surprise everybody with a longer than anticipated battery life.

    You just need not to charge your watch one night (you forgot your charging station or it is unplugged or anything) to realize that it is weird not to have a working watch the day after, honestly. It happens to me with the Pebble Steel.. When it has no battery it is just a ridiculous terrible feeling. A 10-12 hours working smart watch ?? Not sure it would have been acceptable at Steve Jobs time.

    I do hope it is a Marcom decision not to communicate on battery life, to make people believe it will just be a day.

    It will be a hit for sure, what ever the battery life gets to but a watch, smart or not, that only works for a day will end being a gadget.

    I do think that the apple watch launch was great although too “naive” in some of the wording “It’s this Dial… it’s called a crown!”
    Really a watch with something called a crown ?
    I found this piece a little too much.

    The design is really just beautiful and yes the apps will bring their magic too… with Apple Pay making it very convenient. But please Apple, surprise the world !
    Battery, Water proof and openness to Android !

    And then we will all be wearing the apple watch :-)

    PS : Why not charging the watch by turning the crown when needed, as an alternative option, like on mechanical watches ?

    That would be another killer and we could then say yes it is a real watch :-)

  • Anthony

    A mouse and a square-shaped watch – Are they in the same situation? I doubt it.

    Mouse: In 1984, there were no or just a few pointing device had ever invented. Nobody or just a very few people had ever used a mouse. Then, Steve introduced the mouse to the world and the rest is history.

    Square-shaped watch: It is somewhat different situation here. Before the Apple Watch, many watch-makers made Square-shaped watches but the market reaction wasn’t good enough. Nowadays, round-shaped watches still have a dominant position in the category.

  • ksegall

    I have no experience in the watch category, so I did a bunch of Googling to see if you’re correct about the round watches having a “dominant” position. Various surveys seem to point toward round, but there are plenty of people who prefer rectangular. Plus, rectangular is actually more common in the smartwatch category.

    Watches and clocks started out round because a clockface is round. That was all the information they needed to convey. Certainly the world has changed. A circular face can’t display nearly as much information as a rectangular one.

    So I think people’s current preferences are mostly irrelevant. Preferences change with the times. In the early days of cell phones, tiny flip-phones like the Motorola Star-Tak were the rage. In the time of iPhone, there is infinitesimal preference for that shape of phone. People’s taste changed as their needs changed. The tiny screens weren’t cutting it anymore.

    My point is that today more people may indeed prefer round watches. But the Apple Watch hasn’t shipped yet. It hasn’t disrupted the category yet. When new apps appear, providing more great uses for that shape of screen, round screens may become far less desirable — at least in the smartphone category.

    Another important point. This is Apple Watch 1.0. Look at the clunky form of the first iPod, or the first iPhone, or the first iPad. I have no doubt we’ll all look back at these first Apple Watches and have a good laugh about their chunkiness. But that won’t stop them from selling any more than it stopped those other devices. In a couple of years, Apple Watches will evolve into sleeker, even more lustworthy devices. That’s just the Apple way.

    There are no guarantees. But I wouldn’t bet any real money against the success of Apple Watch, whether you prefer round or rectangular faces.

  • People are quite fond of insisting that the current paradigm is the height of usefulness, aesthetics and utility usual just before said paradigm is overthrown. Apple cares as much about the current dominant design of watches as they cared about the dominance of “those little keyboards” on smartphones.

  • Pingback: Apple iWatch App Development: The great unknown | Desirable Apps()

  • MurraySuid

    A few years ago an Android pal of mine told me that Apple was finished. With Jobs gone and the Galaxy vastly better than the iPhone, the collapse was near. Especially problematical was Apple’s invisibility in China.

    But I had heard this partisan chatter many times in the past. So I didn’t throw away my iPhone 4, and I bought a few more shares of Apple. I’m told iPhones are now selling big in China, and so many of my friends own–or will soon buy–iPhone 6s.

    The past is no predictor of the future, but as I said, stories of Apple’s failure are familiar.

  • qka

    Then Shawn’s comment on the iPod Hi-Fi should also stand.

  • Yowsers

    Some day, somewhere, someone will make the market call for Peak Apple, or the market call for when Apple implodes. That person will then have made a market call that will put them in the running with the best.

    Jesse Livermore, shove over…

    These negative Apple calls are like playing the lottery — for each $1, play as many tickets as you like, as long as you like, and someone somewhere wins. And when they do, the returns in term of fame and money will be fabulous.

  • I honestly think the watch can and should flop. It inherently violates several principles of simplicity. For example, 30 different models based on the wrist band? Up to $17,000???

    They should have just thrown some sensors on an improved Nano and then let the customers decide on the band.

  • ksegall

    When Apple enters a new market, it does a pretty good job of studying the market first, and figuring out what people really want.

    Samsung kind of did what you suggest. They shrunk down the phone and made a single model. Customers aren’t exactly flocking to it.

    Watches are at least 50% fashion. They’re part of our wardrobe. Go into any department store and look at the watch selection. There are quite a few from each different brand, and hundreds of them altogether. When you buy a watch, the last thing you want is to look like everyone else.

    By creating all these styles, and then opening it up to third parties to make even more bands, people get the style they want — and a watch that offers a heck of a lot more than a Samsung watch.

    As for the $17,000 price tag … what’s the problem? Is Mercedes a bad company, or a more complicated company, because it has models that range from $35,000 to more than $150,000?

    We’ll see how well Apple does with the Watch by the end of the year. But I sure wouldn’t bet against them.

  • Haha ok well, you literally wrote the book on this. All i can say is that, while i was reading it, i couldn’t help but consider how Apple has violated its principles…

    The nano was a better more versatile product, because it was simpler.

    you could buy a wrist band for a nano, or clip it to your shirt or pants. Same form factor, when you break it down, with the watch.